About CONA

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** Click here to apply for CONA **


The 2017 YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is July 1 – July 6, 2017. We will leave by bus on the evening of Friday, June 30 and return the afternoon of Friday, July 7.

Other Dates:

  • February 17: Missouri CONA Applications are due by 11:59 pm on this date. Applicants will be chosen by a selection committee based on the responses submitted on the application. Past participation is not a guarantee of selection.
  • February 24: All applicants will be notified if they are a delegate, or an alternate.
  • March 10: For those selected, a $200 deposit will be due by this date.
  • March 31-April 2: There will be a mandatory retreat for the Missouri CONA delegation in Jefferson City. The retreat will last from 7:00 pm March 31, 2017 until 12:00 pm April 2, 2017. More details will follow. Please reserve these dates on your calendar. All Missouri CONA participants must attend the retreat to attend CONA.
  • May 5: The remaining fee balance of $650 will be due this date, as well as the deadline for submitting all final registration information and proposal submission.


The total program fee is $850 per student including coach bus transportation.  The program fee includes lodging, most meals, and program expenses for the entire week. Students should bring between $30 and $40 for meals to and from CONA and any incidentals students may want to purchase at CONA.

After students are selected, a $200 non-refundable deposit will be due by March 10. The remaining balance of $650 is due by May 5.

Checks should be made out to Missouri YMCA Youth and Government and sent to P.O. Box 104176, Jefferson City, MO, 65110. We will mail one payment to CONA for all students. Fees are non-refundable once they are paid to Missouri YMCA Youth and Government.

Missouri YMCA Youth and Government will send 3-4 adult advisors, which are required to chaperone the event.

Purpose and Objectives

The YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) was started in 1968 as a follow-up to the outstanding state programs in Youth and Government conducted by YMCAs throughout the USA. The success of the conference is directly attributed to the leadership of many YMCA professionals and volunteers, but primarily to the dedication of the youth involved. Youth from over 35 states participate in the Conference. This program offers an opportunity for a student to research in the area of national and international concerns, organize this information into a proposal proposal, engage in intensive discussion, and debate these proposals with outstanding young people from other states.

The specific objectives of the conference include:

  • To gain an awareness of national concerns and issues.
  • To increase understanding of Federal government and its relations to state, national, and international matters.
  • To have and use a means for communicating concerns about national affairs to appropriate persons and groups at federal government levels.
  • To develop an increased understanding of needs, responsibilities, and opportunities.
  • To work creatively together with young adults and adults.
  • To help youth and adults to better understand and strengthen their values for living through the Christian objectives of the YMCA.


Students desiring to participate in CONA must have participated at the State Convention.  Also, each youth delegate must prepare a proposal on a matter of national or international concern. This proposal must not exceed two pages, which equals approximately 60 lines of text or 1000 words. The proposal must express the views of the author. Proposals focus on solutions to problems and issues of importance to our nation.


The YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly located in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

The YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly was established in 1906 as an interdenominational Christian conference and training center by Dr. Willis D. Weatherford. Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is a full-service conference center situated on 1,200 acres of woodland beautified by mountain streams, wildflowers, ridges, valleys and spectacular views.

When Dr. Weatherford founded Blue Ridge, he recruited college age young people to work, based on four guiding principles.

  • There is dignity in all labor. Anything ministering to human need is a God given task.
  • Every person must be intellectually respectable and learn to think.
  • Religion is indispensable to building life values.
  • One person must believe in the dignity and worth of individual persons as created in the image of God and worthy of love and respect.

Dr. Weatherford urged students and conference guests to appreciate fully the significance of quiet and meditation. He believed the Assembly, with its mountains and natural settings, gave both the students and guests an opportunity for meditation in their search for future goals. It is during this time of meditation and sharing that the Blue Ridge Spirit develops an inexplicable force, bringing people together from differing backgrounds to share a common experience.


Each student delegate participating in CONA is required to write a proposal on a matter of importance to our nation, and will debate that proposal in a series of committees to their Youth in Government peers from across the United States. The proposal must be written on a topic with national or international scope. Proposals are submitted by each student online after registration, and the Missouri State Office will help students work on the drafts of their proposals.

Each state delegation can only have one proposal per subject matter.  Once selected for CONA, students will receive an email from the YIG State Office outlining the deadlines for proposal submission, including approval of topics.  Please review the guide below to assist with your proposal writing.